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Another Expert Agrees With Dark Comet Theory

February 21, 2013 – 11:31 am | No Comment

Astronomer David Asher (from Armagh University) has agreed with Bill Napier and Janaki Wickramasinghe (Cardiff University) that “dark comets” are real and dangerous.
The following quotes are from a paper by Napier and Asher published in Astronomy & Geophysics.

We know that about one bright comet (of absolute magnitude as bright as 7, comparable to Halley’s Comet) arrives in the visibility zone (perihelion q<5AU, say) each year from the Oort cloud. It seems to be securely established that ~1–2% of these are captured into Halleytype (HT) orbits. The dynamical lifetime of a body in such an orbit can be estimated, from which the expected number of HT comets is perhaps ~3000. The actual number of active HT comets is ~25. This discrepancy of at least two powers of 10 in the expected impact rate from comets as deduced from this theoretical argument on the one hand, and observations on the other, is …

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Home » Asteroids

Nuking Asteroids Back on the Agenda

Submitted by on June 14, 2013 – 3:24 pmNo Comment

When Bruce Willis nuked an asteroid in Armageddon, scientists told us that we didn’t have nuclear weapons powerful enough to pull off such a feat. And if the asteroid still struck Earth, but in smaller pieces, the damage might have been worse.

The best recent solutions involve getting to the asteroid early enough to nudge it slightly – meaning it would miss Earth by a long way once it got here.

However, a new nuclear solution has made the news:

Bong Wie, director of the Asteroid Deflection Research Centre in Iowa, described the system at the International Space Development Conference in California last week, in which he explained that an anti-asteroid spacecraft would carry a nuclear warhead to destroy asteroids that were on a collision course with the planet Earth.

Wie added that the two-section spacecraft would consist of a kinetic energy impactor that would break off to blast a crater in the asteroid. The second part would carry the warhead, which would be exploded inside the crater following impact.

The ultimate aim of this would be to break the asteroid up into many different pieces, which would then follow new trajectories away from Earth – and any fragments that did reach the planet would be destroyed in the atmosphere.

Wie believes that 99 per cent of the asteroid fragments would avoid the Earth, greatly reducing the impact on our planet.

No mention of the bomb size they anticipate using, but it would be sufficient to blow the asteroid the smithereens. Basically any fragments still on an Earth-bound trajectory would be so small that they wouldn’t make it through the atmosphere without burning up.

It’s not a bad plan if we can make big enough bombs, and it seems like the only last-minute solution on the table. Wie suggests testing it on a 50 meter asteroid, which isn’t a bad idea because asteroids of that size or smaller aren’t a threat when intact, and certainly wouldn’t be after being blown up.


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